The other night was just one of those days: rainy, cold, and dismal outside. The weather was perfect for wearing pajamas at 5pm, cuddling with pets &/ significant others, and of course: making soup!
I noticed on the Two Peas & Their Pod blog a recipe was posted for a healthier creamy tomato orzo soup, and I was immediately intrigued. Especially because we had 1/2 loaf tomato basil focaccia bread left over that was way past its prime and destined to be made into croutons.
I made this soup, with only two changes, and I was very impressed. The creaminess comes from greek yogurt so it is actually a very healthy soup. I highly encourage anyone who loves creamy tomato soup but hates the idea of slurping up 50% saturated fat in one bowel to try this recipe!
Creamy Tomato Soup with Focaccia Croutons
Yield: 4 bowls
You Will Need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-15 ounce cans diced tomatoes *
- 1-15 ounce can vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil *
- Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (we use Chobani)
- 1 cup cooked Orzo pasta *
- 1/2 loaf of stale focaccia bread for croutons (my addition, HIGHLY recommended)
* I used no salt added diced tomatoes and added my salt per our taste. I did need to add a lot of salt to achieve a good flavor, but I still feel I added less than what would be in the regular sodium cans.
* I believe you could up the fresh basil a tad, maybe add in an extra 1 TBS.
* I substituted ALPHABET pasta instead of of orzo. No, I don’t have a five year old. I am just a kid at heart and the sight of this in the grocery store pretty much made my day.
Lastly, my own addition that pretty much MADE this soup amazing was the hommemade focaccia croutons. See below for how to make these.
Now for the recipe:
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves.
2. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in the brown sugar and fresh basil. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, to taste. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup (or blend the soup in a standing blender and return to the pot). Stir in the Greek yogurt until well combined. Stir in the orzo pasta (or alphabets). Serve warm.
And for the highly encouraged, totally worth it, absolutely delicious add in….
Tomato Basil Focaccia Croutons
Like I mentioned, I had an extra 1/2 loaf of focaccia bread left over from making my roasted eggplant and tomato sandwiches, and it was getting very stale. I made croutons out of the bread by simply cutting it up into thick cubes, combining with 1 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil, and sprinkling with a little salt (about 1/2 tsp).
I then baked these beauties for about 10 minutes until they were nice and crispy. I stored them in an air-tight container until dinner time when they met their fate by drowning in a bowel of creamy tomato soup.
The next time you are craving a creamy, healthy, comforting soup, I definitely recommend you give this recipe a try. I highly encourage the use of alphabets instead of orzo, because let’s face it: childhood favorite > random pasta that looks like rice ;)
And if you have a little extra time, whip up some homemade croutons for dunking. You can never go wrong by adding more carbs!
What are your favorite healthy soup recipes?